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Jeremy

Caches Along A Route

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A side note (one of many I've had today), I was reading http://www.geocaching.com/waypoints/ and I noticed that under the heading for Desktop Applications, the icons for GPSBabel don't show that it works under the Windows environment, which is probably the reason I never even went to the page (since I couldn't use it).

 

~Jared

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I really can't wait for this feature. Before I bought MS Streets and Trips (a wonderful program)...

 

...The problem with using a mapping feature like MapQuest is that it doesn't always suggest the route you want to take. If Jeremy were to impliment a feature like that, we would all be stuck using the "fastest" or interstate routes for caching.

I'm sure you know this...

 

Streets and Trips can be customized for your route to avoid interstates, etc. My upcoming trip I don't take the quickest route, because I know what the programs says, and I know the traffic patters around large metropolises (metropoli?). I also know what parts of the country I want to travel through.

 

To customize the route in S&T, add stops that will mandate the system taking a path that YOU want instead of the path that it wants. However, unless you specifically tell the system to avoid a certain section of road (which you can), it will still try to get you back on the Interstate system.

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A side note (one of many I've had today), I was reading http://www.geocaching.com/waypoints/ and I noticed that under the heading for Desktop Applications, the icons for GPSBabel don't show that it works under the Windows environment, which is probably the reason I never even went to the page (since I couldn't use it).

 

~Jared

Hover your mouse over the first icon for GPS Babel... the one with the four-box windows logo in the background and the Linux penguin logo in the foreground. The hover text reads "Windows/Linux." GPS Babel works just lovely on Windows, whether on a standalone basis or as part of the engine driving GSAK. Hope this helps.

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Out here in the midwest/mountain area, not everyone uses the Interstates.

And for such trips, you're way more likely to be able to order up a single PQ that contains the caches in that area and filter them locally using the techniques described above.

 

The interesting problem to solve here - as it's the one that isn't be solved in a practical way with existing client-side software - is acquiring caches over a distance that's impractical to order up with the current radius based scheme. See my example above where I highlighted JamieZ's trip that took 9 PQ's (and thus, two days to run) to distill down the 94 caches he might have wanted to hunt.

 

[ /me places extended thumb and forefinger below chin. "Workin' on it." ]

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I can't wait either... kinda anxious actually.

 

Here's another thought to add. What if there were an alternate route, with a bunch of caches, that you could take. Perhaps it still gets you to where you are going, but it's the scenic route, or a frontage road, or an old highway.

 

Coming into Las Vegas is Hwy 166, it's the old Las Vegas Highway. Very driveable, and still maintained, and it has several very accessible caches. Even if someone was driving to Utah, they could pull off in Jean, grab 10-15 caches in 13 miles along Hwy 166, then get back on I-15 before hitting the city. I-15 would not register those as being near that highway or near any of it's exits.

 

If I added all my $.02 on this topic, it would be well over a buck, that's for sure.

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What I think would be easy for Jeremy to implement would be that we could run a PQ by uploading a list of Waypoints. Using MS streets and MS access I have been able to extract a list of Waypoints along a route fairly quickly( about 5 mins).

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What I think would be easy for Jeremy to implement would be that we could run a PQ by uploading a list of Waypoints. Using MS streets and MS access I have been able to extract a list of Waypoints along a route fairly quickly( about 5 mins).

It isn't easy.

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I was talking about running a PQ using Waypoints being easy, not the getting the waypoints.

If you don't think running a PQ this way would be easy maybe I could help.

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I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet but, if we could check the caches we want to DL from the GC Map, that would be very helpful. That way we could pick and choose which ones we want based on the map.

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One related idea that I have is regarding caches in area's like San Francisco. Besides wanting areas along a route, I would like to be able to limit a search by county. When I do a search for a point is SF, and I may want East Bay, but I know I will not be in Marin County. I see that I can limit by states, IE CA, or even select several states in the query. I am betting that adding a county flag is still a big chalange.

 

Dan

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One related idea that I have is regarding caches in area's like San Francisco. Besides wanting areas along a route, I would like to be able to limit a search by county. When I do a search for a point is SF, and I may want East Bay, but I know I will not be in Marin County. I see that I can limit by states, IE CA, or even select several states in the query. I am betting that adding a county flag is still a big chalange.

 

Dan

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Rascel, you can do that with GPSBabel today. Get PQ's for the area, get the county files from the GPSBabel download site and use polygon filter to select only the county you want.

 

The whole "caches along a route" problem is really only a server-side problem for the case that can't be solved very well by client-side software. If you can get the data now and it's a "mere" matter of filtering, it's a different problem than the needs of those with long trips where you just can't order up enough PQ's to cover the route.

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I appologize if this has been mentioned already, but this thread is getting way too long to read start to finish.

Anyways, I recently discovered http://www.geobase.ca. They have the entire road network for Canada for download as shape files. The major/provincial highways are distinguished in the database which could simplify the coding of it. They also have all road intersections marked as well in a points file.

The more minor roads have no name on them, but who cares what the roads are called?

Database seems to be updated pretty regularly as well (some recent construction shows up on the map).

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Wanted to add, I just skimmed the license agreement. It seems like anyone is free to do what ever the heck they like with the data, as long as they acknowledge the source.

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Maybe users should include the states that the route covers in their submission and you could search by state? Perhaps by the origin or destination? I know that many of the major routes will cover several states, so there are lots of things to consider.

 

I have posted this topic, yes without looking to see if it was pinned, about finding caches along highways and routes, and here it is. (yes try before you pry!) basic firefighting training, like do not smash the door down before you check to see if it is open.

 

I like the idea of a new page, box(s), section, or whatever, when submitting a new cache, where I would put the hwy #, approximate miles, 0 - 5 from exit, or intersection. Maybe an area for a note too.

 

I would think, this would be easier to set up,? and then be able to filter the information thru Geocaching.com ?

 

Also a news letter to all cache owners to go back, and edit their caches by filling in the boxes if applicable.

 

I do not do PQ's along with most users I meet, and all this lingo is out there for me. I can handle GSAK, Map Source, and I do use my PDA, I just copy and paste what I need.

 

I know your are working on this, but how many users/members would just benefit from a system for highway caching that requires PQ's to use.

 

I just think, after doing all this work to set this up, it would only be great to PQ users.?

 

Just seems more complicated to go outside the box.(Geocaching.com)

 

2 pennies=

 

1signature2zl.jpg

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I just signed up as a subscriber so I could use the Cache Maps feature. I am going to Yuma tomorrow and wanted to find caches close to I-8 that I could quickly hit with three other people in the car. I love how I can pan across the map and follow the route I'm going to take. Problem is, if I use the IDENTIFY option, it lists the caches but there is no way to "select" them and download a waypoint file like you can on the "Seek Geocache" pages. The ability to find caches this way would be an improvement that anyone could figure out how to do. It's worth the subscription fee and time for me to be able to do this. Is this possible?

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OK, I really don't have the time or the desire to read all three pages of this thread so here is my idea. If it has already been brought up, consider this a seconding of the idea and my apologies.

 

When you create a cache on the website, why not have a box to check indicating this cache is either easy to access off of major highway or or is on the highway (as in rest areas). Similar button to is this a traditional cache or a micro cache or a virtual cache, etc...)

 

Now add an option to the pocket query for these types so you can filter results for only those on the highway or close to a highway exit.

 

Now at least you can find only highway caches. If you can figure a way to also be able to pick between two zip codes that would make it even better.

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I am soooo glad I am not the only one who wants this attribute! It actually seems quite popular! <_<

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Well I know this will go over like lead balloons but I am a free enterpriser at heart. Jeremy has mentioned that point and click mapping is a very expensive route to go, however I am sure it is also the most simple and elegant UI solution.

 

The cost per use that you mentioned is it pennies, dollars, or tens of dollars per use?

 

Since the issue we are trying to solve is really only a premium issue (unless you are a really motivated cheapskate), It is safe to assume that there is enough demand for this feature that a small fee to perform such a task would not be unreasonable. I am thinking in the range of the paper map a person would buy to take on their proposed trip anyway.

 

I would suggest that a unique route query would be required by an individual only once to a few times a year (Depending on how often an individual travels distances larger than your average query or two). Once a particular route has been drawn and the PQ generated the PQ can be saved in the members PQ library to be run as often as they like.

 

This is the easy point and shoot method and if the cost is reasonable it would be a quick timeline to implementation. The free methods are out there as have been discussed here and can remain for those who do not wish to pay. Just as those who don't wish to pay for PQ's as premium members now.

 

PS Don't forget the nice gesture of allowing us PM's to have one or two free routes per year. :)

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See my example above where I highlighted JamieZ's trip that took 9 PQ's (and thus, two days to run) to distill down the 94 caches he might have wanted to hunt.

Just a small correction:

 

From my recollection (and I haven't double-checked) it was 13 PQs requiring three days to run. 94 caches is the correct number.

 

And the worst part? I only hunted and found about 20 of those caches during my trip. Next time I'll learn to make the "distance from route" more realistic.

 

I'm a strong proponent of caches along a line, as proposed by Fizzy.

 

Jamie

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I love how I can pan across the map and follow the route I'm going to take.  Problem is, if I use the IDENTIFY option, it lists the caches but there is no way to "select" them and download a waypoint file like you can on the "Seek Geocache" pages. 

As an immediate solution to the "problem" this seems like it would be easier than some of the more technical PQ/arc/etc type ideas.

 

(In fact, this is almost what I'm doing for a short trip next weekend in reverse... We're going to go on a day trip and drive to an area in the foothills that we love. I created a PQ for the area, imported it into Streets and Trips, then in S&T picked the sites I wanted and had it build a route for me.)

 

What I really wanted to do was zoom out a ways, identify and select a bunch of caches (maybe putting them into a "shopping cart?") pan further, select some more, etc, along the route. Then download those waypoints as a query (with descriptions). I know that there's ways to automate it more, but if I'm traveling, I want to review all of the sites before spending the time looking for them! This doesn't really require any strange math queries or odd route mapping software. Instead couldn't it be done with cookies and browser technology?

 

Alan LeVezu

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The current method that Jamie used can still be used with GSAK, and you can keep those caches in GSAK.

 

There may be another closer solution. As far as keeping a shopping cart, I would think that Jeremy's "list" project might fit that bill. If I get the gist of what Jeremy is proposing, you could set up a list called "caches on this trip" and bookmark caches along the way. Then (if I'm guessing correctly), you should be able to get a Pocket Query of all of the caches on a particular list that you create. (I'm not sure about the Pocket Query aspect, but it only makes sense.)

 

If all that is correct, you should be able to (as a premium member) pan and zoom the map, click on the identify and (doing a shift-click to open the cache page in the new window) add the cache to one of your lists from the cache page. When you're done, you just close the window that had been the cache page and you're back into the map where you left off.

 

Is that right, Jeremy?

Edited by Markwell

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Why have to open another screen at all? Adding the check boxes like the "Seek Geocaches" pages have would make it easy to select the ones you want and at the bottom of the page you'd get the "Download Waypoints" button. Why one type of seek page has it and not another didn't make sense to me after paying for a subscription.

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I agree with you. I'd like to see the maps "identify" results mirror the search results page with all of the same functionality.

 

But the necessity of opening that cache page on the results of the identify will also depends on whether adding a cache to a list will be available right from the results page. Unless Jeremy has an epihany in here, I'm not sure it will...

 

Hey Jeremy - can we get the results of the "identify" to mirror the functionality of the search results? And will the search results/identify be able to add a cache to a list right from the results page without having to open the cache page?

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Almost a month since any posts...

 

sign-bump.gif

Edited by Markwell

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The general theme seems to be that EveryBody Should Reinvent the Wheel.

 

If one person creats a good list of caches on, for example, I5 from Olympia to Sacramento, why not have them post it and others could work with it from there.

 

Yes, caches come and go, but this'd be an easy way to start. :(

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Lists aren't a bad idea at all, and as you eluded to, the list would need to be maintained. Then if I were driving from LA to Orlando, how do I find the lists?

 

In review of the other ideas....

 

I believe it started with the concept of calculating the distance that a cache is from an interstate exit. TPTB would need to find a listing of interstate exit coordinates, then caculate the distance that a cache is from that exit. Getting a usable list seems to be a tough chore. Also, many well travelled roads are not interstates, they are highways that may or may not have exits. There were a lot of volunteers that would mark a lot of the routes in thier area.

 

Many folks talked about how easy it is to do a bunch of PQ's, import them into GSAK, draw the route in another piece of software, plug them into GSAK, and then filter and export out the caches near your route and according to your additional criteria.

 

Then there was the "near a highway" attribute (indicates less than 30 minutes from major thoroughfare to cache and back).

 

Did I miss any?

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Many folks talked about how easy it is to do a bunch of PQ's,

Can we get the "bounding box" discussed earlier for defining pocket queries as an interim fix and leave the fancy stuff for later.

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Many folks talked about how easy it is to do a bunch of PQ's,

Can we get the "bounding box" discussed earlier for defining pocket queries as an interim fix and leave the fancy stuff for later.

Yes, how could I forget that concept!? That would be a very good solution, whether temporay or permanant.

 

Question on implementation... if the bounding box had more than 500 caches in it, which ones would be returned by the query? Would the PQ start with a line and work outwards? Or would it go east/west or north/south?

 

Topic Tangent: Since cache denisty is ever increasing and the new GPS's can handle more wapypoints, will PQ cache quantity limit be bumped up to meet that trend?

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I posted this in Topics and thought I would place it here as well.

 

I have my method that I am using which involves

A: Being a premium member (proudly)

B: Using Pocket Queries

C: Using GSAK (proudly registered to Clydes fine program)

D: using Garmin Mapsource MetroGuide.

 

My method is thus-

1- I plan my route with the map program. Fine tune the details of the trip as I know them.

2- Turn the map details "off" (no map) so only the route is shown with the Lat and Long. lines. I do this to make it easier to see.

3- Set the map to 100 miles and turn on the "bullseye" crosshairs. This scales to the circle of the bullseye to aprox. 47 miles +/-.

4- Set the edge of the bullseye at the place I want to start caching and make a waypoint at the edge of the circle. I start the numbering of the waypoints with 101, 102, 103... This will keep them sequential.

5- "Grab" the map and trace the route so the circle on the reciprocal touches the waypoint previously marked. And so... until the route is completed.

6- Since a person can make up to 20 pocket queries and run up to 5 per day, I make the waypoints into different recognizable symbols ie. Blue Triange, Green Triangle... that signifies the different queries.

7- Place my queries request using the waypoints I marked and the numbering as the "name" of the query, with the parameters that I would like to work with for the trip. ie cache types and sizes, terrain/difficulty and alike. With this I set the distance radius to 25 miles.

8-Upon receiving the queries, I place them into their seperately assigned folders, marking them with the numbers starting with 101-105 and the waypoint symbol (Blue Triangle...). Five queries per folder (five per day) keeps them easily trackable. For the next query the folder would be 106-110 and so on.

9- I transfer the query info to GSAK.

10- Then transfer GSAK info to the map (I kept my original route map seperate for clarity) Save your maps with the info that you have coordinated with the symbols if desired.

11- Pick and choose the caches that will best fit your idea and plans from the map. For example, some rest area caches or maybe a place to have lunch that maybe close to a cache.

12- I then transfer the GSAK info to my trusty PDA via Cachemate and Garmin 60cs.

 

This seems like a lot but I have found out that is really working out well and is not that involved once you get the flow of it. I hope I haven't left out a step. I'll edit if I discover that I have.

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Thanks for the method Zoltig. I use the same tools as you but have been generally eyeballing my waypoints for using with pocket queries. I was unaware of the crosshairs in Mapsource and will try your technique on my next roadtrip.

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Edit: Someone's already got something similar (with pics) posted.

MSS&T and GPX

 

I do much the same as zoltig. I use Micro$oft Streets & Trips 2005.

 

1) Plan out the route you want to take.

2) Find your starting waypoint.

3) Set up a PQ for that waypoint. I usually limit my caches to 3/3 Traditional Micro/Small/Regular/Large. This way they'll still be a good challenge but I won't be needing special equipment or spending all day in one area. Set the PQ to return 500 caches in a 500 mile radius.

4) Import the GPX into MSS&T and check how far out the PQ returned. For example, even though you set it for 500 miles, it might have hit the limit at 200. Set your next waypoint about 100 furthur up the route and make a new PQ again. You will get overlap, but you should also get another few that didn't show up in the first PQ.

5) Keep doing this all along your route.

6) In MSS&T, set up your route under 'Route Planner'.

7) Switch to "Find Nearby Places", and on the bottom choose "Entire Route" in the 'Around' field. Set your search radius and distance, and click 'Search'

 

Obviously, you don't have to set up a 500 mile radius. I only do that because I tend to go off course during my trips, and I like knowing where other caches are beyond the 2 miles or whatever I search for. Is this kinda clear? If not, I'll refine these so people will better understand.

 

Doug

Edited by dumbdiety

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I take the same aproach as "dumbdiety", but I go a little further. After getting your nearby places, you can select to add to route. After I have a route containing all the caches, I copy that route to a txt file, import into MS Access and process everything out except the Waypoint names.

Now I just have to convince Jeremy to create a way for me to upload those names so I can create a custom PQ.

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I posted this in Topics and thought I would place it here as well.

 

I have my method that I am using which involves

A: Being a premium member (proudly)

B: Using Pocket Queries

C: Using GSAK (proudly registered to Clydes fine program)

D: using Garmin Mapsource MetroGuide.

 

Zoltig, will that also work with City Select?

 

(we're planning a trip to Portland OR the end of the month and it would be nice to cache along the way, and not all of it is highways)

Edited by CaptainQuack

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Zoltig, will that also work with City Select?

 

(we're planning a trip to Portland OR the end of the month and it would be nice to cache along the way, and not all of it is highways)

 

 

According to the Garmin Link for City Select you can manage your own waypoints and routes.

 

Using GSAK it is a simple matter of clicking File, Export, Mapsource MPS File or CTRL+U shortcut. Simply open the generated file in City select and Wala!

 

GSAK is really a must have toool for this type of work. Please be sure to support the cause and register your copy of GSAK if you find it useful.

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I posted this in Topics and thought I would place it here as well.

 

I have my method that I am using which involves

A: Being a premium member (proudly)

B: Using Pocket Queries

C: Using GSAK (proudly registered to Clydes fine program)

D: using Garmin Mapsource MetroGuide.

 

Zoltig, will that also work with City Select?

 

(we're planning a trip to Portland OR the end of the month and it would be nice to cache along the way, and not all of it is highways)

I do believe so. Thanks to WCoaster for the quick link. I have not seen City Select in action, but from what I see in the description, it should.

Please keep us informed of your findings.

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Zoltig, will that also work with City Select?

It works fine. I used City Select v6 with Zoltig's method.

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I like/want an arc type filter, but how about this. When at the "view map" page could it be setup were a button could be added "Add visible caches to Filter". That way if one would zoom in, click the button and pan over and over this could setup a group. The arc thing would be less to keep track of from GC's point but perhaps the button idea would be easy to do?

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It would be nice just to be able to do a search in a general direction from a certain Waypoint or set of coordinates. Say search for caches North East with a radius of 10 miles of a certain Waypoint.

 

This shouldn't bee to hard to implement with the current setup.

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While you guys are talking about how to plan a route automatically based on waypoints, I wanted to suggest that there is a way to map selected caches based on a manual approach.

 

Right now, if I zoom in and/or identify on a GC map, I see all the caches in the area.

 

What I'd like to do, is after previewing my PQ, use the checkboxes to select which caches I want to go for. Rather than choosing the download as gpx button, I'd like to be able to 'map selected caches'.

 

This way the resulting map ONLY has those points I want on it, rather than everything in the radius.

 

Speaking of maps, is there a way to have a printer friendly printout page? This is probably the wrong forum for it, but it's related (in a way) to the route discussion. Based on the HTML layout, things get cut off on the right side of the page, without changing the orientation. You'll notice alot of mapping sites have a "print" function that converts the printout to a simpler layout, excluding sidebars, headers, etc so that it's easier to print on one page.

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I dont mind going to each cache site and downloading the way points. I just wish there was some way to download the e-book format of the site or better yet a group of sites. Like wen you check on the waypoint that you want to down load you can also check a bok to put it into e-book format.

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I would be interested in an update on this topic since I have a number of major trips coming up this month and next.

 

I understand all the work-arounds and use them extensively, but without some enhancement to the PQ facilty, I am routinely requesting thousands of cache descriptions that I have no use for, just to get the ones that I need along my travels. If the issue is too difficult to implement, then even having shapes other than circles (e.g. rectangles) would be very helpful.

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I'm jumping into the middle of something that has obviously been discussed at length. One post I saw suggested something that would be simple to use and I certainly agree with that concept. All of this combined together almost need a major in Computer Science to do. And just to find some trinkets that were purchased at a dollar store!

 

Streets & trips (Microsoft) has a function that lets you select the entire route, and find any thing within x miles of the route, along it's entire length.

 

You could show all the gas stations within 5 miles, or all the campgrounds within 15 miles.

 

If Geocaching waypoints could be added to the database for Streets & Trips, wouldn't that work?

 

I don't think that there are too many waypoints to do that. Surely there are more gas stations in the USA than waypoints!

 

FWIW

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I'm a fairly new seeker, but here's an idea I'd like to see. If it already exists, please just point me to where I can find it.

 

I'd call it geotrekking. Any member could post an interesting trip they took that featured geocaching.

 

Here's an example of one we just took (and the kind of information I'd like to see included):

 

State: Michigan

Central city: Manistee

Central zipcode: 49660

Date: April 2005

 

We stayed at the Riverside Motel & Marina in Manistee, which is located on the river, next to a boardwalk that runs between a park on Lake Michigan and the small city of Manistee. Motel website: http://www.riversidemotelandmarina.com/

 

The motel is modest, clean, and friendly to pets as well as people. There was a special that included the weekend plus a very nice restaurant dinner, and gambling at the nearby Little River Casino, for $99 (two nights) slightly more for a walkout room. There's another little motel right on the sand dune at Lake Michigan.

 

Caches: we found 14 in 3 days. Four of them are within walking distance of the motel! There were caches on the boardwalk, at the beach, and in the beautiful Manistee National Forest.

 

etc. This is all true stuff so if you want to use it please go ahead.

 

I'd like to see other people post their caching vacation info. It helps plan a nice getaway. I'd like to be able to search listings by state at least.

 

Thanks for this great site!

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I'm jumping into the middle of something that has obviously been discussed at length. One post I saw suggested something that would be simple to use and I certainly agree with that concept. All of this combined together almost need a major in Computer Science to do. And just to find some trinkets that were purchased at a dollar store!

 

Streets & trips (Microsoft) has a function that lets you select the entire route, and find any thing within x miles of the route, along it's entire length.

 

You could show all the gas stations within 5 miles, or all the campgrounds within 15 miles.

 

If Geocaching waypoints could be added to the database for Streets & Trips, wouldn't that work?

 

I don't think that there are too many waypoints to do that. Surely there are more gas stations in the USA than waypoints!

 

FWIW

There are currently over 160,000 active caches. These change minute by minute. Another thing is that for some very good reasons it is not possible to download all the waypoints at once. GC.com is not willing to let anyone have an entire copy of their database of caches for fear that they would use it to build a competing site. This is a very real and valid concern.

 

What is currently under discussion is how to set up a PQ (or other device) to allow users to get at a restricted set of waypoints that follow a given route. This would be used on vacations or caching treks etc.

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I use USAPhotoMaps and GSAK... I download all the WP's to my GPSr and then download fron the GPSr to USAPhotoMaps .. This is very nice as I can get both TOPO and Photo maps with a UTM grid overlay.. Hope this helps :unsure:

Edited by Team Ginalf

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